All-Star race to stay at Lowe’s

NASCAR Chairman Brian France offered his strongest endorsement yet for keeping the all-star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway during a speech Tuesday at the Charlotte Business Journal's annual Power Breakfast, the Business Journal reports. France, who has flirted with the notion of relocating the Nextel All-Star Challenge in recent years, said reinvigorated corporate and community support for the race has put it on more solid ground. The all-star race has attracted crowds of 120,000 to 140,000 in recent years. This year's race is May 20. "I think the all-star race has done very, very well here," France said during the speech in front of more than 1,000 civic and business leaders gathered at the Charlotte Convention Center. "Historically, big events tend not to move around much unless they're not working well. Charlotte civic leaders have started to rally around the motorsports industry and the all-star race. Community leaders have sorted an earlier lack of attention out." The NASCAR chairman also said the uncertainty of moving events around on the schedule is a "bad business model" because it discourages track operators from investing in their events and venues. A recent higher profile for the all-star race and related events has made France more bullish on having it in Charlotte: "I hope we'll be able to keep it here." Even France's endorsement included a bit of wiggle room. He reiterated his stance that every race is subject to re-evaluation on a yearly basis. Still, the positive comments on the all-star race in Charlotte represent France's strongest public backing of keeping it in place. Corporate and political leaders began rallying around the all-star race when NASCAR officials began discussing a possible relocation of the event in 2004. Since then, a local organizing committee has been formed with state and local government agencies contributing money to create ancillary events tied to the race. NASCAR Daily Scene

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